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“tierra”

Press your palms on her. Feel. Experience. I meditated with this, I took my time. I followed my gut. I used a glass bowl- equal part dirt and mod podge. I didn’t wear gloves. I used my hand… to scoop the mixture and press it on the canvas. I let the paint drip. My room smelled like glue for a week. I slept in a hoodie. The windows open.

This painting is an ode to the pivotal parts of our identity and ancestry that are underground. The ways in which we as humans fail to uncover and realize the beauty and complexities of All that we are and all we are connected to. By exposing the roots, I resist our culture’s desire to see beauty on the surface and encourage us to dive into the darkened parts of ourselves burrowed and sometimes disregarded. By exposing the roots, we are reminded there is more to the world than what we see. Most of our forests are underground. Did you know? Take care of her and she will take care of you too.

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“cease resistance”

24×30″ acrylic on canvas

Every day for months, I looked at an unfinished version of her. Blotches of exposed canvas, asymmetrical eyes. and colors that fought with one another rather than danced greeted me each rising. I did not rush myself. I breathed in the potential she could become and found solace with the process. Soon, when I was ready I would begin. The night before last, I picked up a paintbrush. Before touching her, I affirmed “there are no such things as mistakes. Mistakes do not exist here. Every stroke is meant to happen.” Over and over again I surrendered myself to the process. I painted over textures I once found beautiful, but I knew had to be reworked– transformed. In 7 hours, I finished. I name this piece, “cease resistance.” I didn’t only paint this, I let it happen.

I choose to center the process rather than the content here, but I would love to know. What does this piece mean for you? Comment below.

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“un jarrón de flores”





20×20″ acrylic on canvas,

worked and reworked.

the beauty of acrylic is nothing ever has to stay still– my paintings can evolve and grow alongside me. I finished the first version of this painting last year. I added some grapes in July. Surreal leaves in August. A little grey in September. Brown spheres in October. Streams of golds, greys, & metallic blues last night. this was a dream slowly realized. an initial distaste revealed then reimagined.

“cielo morado,” “untitled,” & “rebirth”

I’ve finally decided to share some of my visual art on here. IMG-4189 (1)

“cielo morado” 36×24, acrylic & gloss on canvas

I was so happy when I made her. The colors poured from my paintbrush without second thought. The golden core of this sun reflects the tiniest bit of light at night. It’s difficult to photograph but this painting wears many faces as the light around her shifts. My brother called dibs.

IMG-4188 (1)
“untitled” 24×30, acrylic on canvas

I worked to create something I wanted to look at over and over again. I didn’t mind if she looked at me back, so I started with the eye. And the irregular shapes began to form on their own. I have her above my bookshelf, the earth tones beautifully match the spines of my collection so I won’t be giving her away.

IMG-4185 (1)
“rebirth” 30×24, acrylic+soil+pebbles on canvas (2018)

I was dreaming of snakes during this time .. and one night with no blank canvas I chose a self portrait I made the year before. I painted her entirely in copper, bronze, red, & brown. I added a silver snake along the middle & lined the top and bottom of the canvas with soil I brought back from Peru last year, repurposed & glazed. She is reborn.

I will post 2 more paintings this week

Thank you!

“fading”

“fading”

creative writing assignment

I didn’t like the shoes I wore that night. The rubber lining on the strap pinched the skin above my heels. But the heels matched the blouse, so I wore them anyway. My top was sheer enough to be suggestive, but comfortable enough for the train. I took one final look in the mirror to pull my skirt down, rake fly aways in, fix my lipstick. Routinely unsatisfied, I grabbed my keys and left.

We met up at a bar by Kendall station. I walked through seas of  twenty and thirty-somethings to find her. I felt uneasy that night, my skirt kept riding up and the wind felt foreign against my bare back. I kept shifting my weight from one foot to the other, rubbing against the coming blisters. Samantha complimented my shoes. We paid for our drinks and walked a few blocks down University Ave.

This part of the city had breaks in their sidewalks. We got to a door with the number 87 on it. The buzzer was broken. Sam touched her phone and a minute later we heard a voice above us. A man pushed his long hair to one side and leaned against the windowsill. Well look at that, he said to us with a smirk. The man threw down the keys to Samantha. Effortlessly, she caught them and sent him a kiss with her fingers.

The party was tired. Half the people were on their phones and the other half played beer pong. I saw a girl in a t-shirt and jeans, I was jealous. I pulled my skirt a little further down and looked at Samantha. I thought no one really had fun at parties, we were just faking it. Samantha faked it the best. Her body loosened to the beat of badly selected music. She made the party look almost slightly interesting. I left to find some quiet.

This is the youngest and prettiest you’ll ever be, Mami told me while I was growing up. I repeat this to myself in the mirror of the bathroom. The songs turned into soft echoes, silencing sounds of beer-pong grunts. I took off my shoes and bent underneath the sink. An empty toothpaste bottle with chunks of dried up blue paste stuck to the bottom of the shelf. There were prescription bottles and loose q-tips. Two-in-one shampoos and conditioners were stacked next to a box of condoms. I reached over to the band-aids and patched up my ankles. Anyone in there, a woman’s voice yelled behind the door. I left.

Midnight. A tall man in an Old Navy t-shirt and patchy beard put his hand on my bare back. My heart skipped a beat and I took a step away from him towards the wall. Sorry, I said although I wasn’t sure what I apologized for. What’s your name, he asked. He smiled. Who do you know here? I’ve never been good at flirting but I remind myself this is the youngest and prettiest I’ll ever be. I ask him to make me a drink.


His eyes were almost as dark as the circles underneath them. I propped myself on the kitchen counter as he poured equal parts vodka, orange juice, tonic. The chill distracted me from my discomfort. He gave me my drink and put his hand on my knee. I took a few sips and looked passed him. Samantha smiled, sitting on the lap of the man with long hair kissing her ear. I stopped thinking about my feet, I didn’t feel too exposed anymore. Calmness came over me. Tranquility paired nicely with the party.

The night grew darker. I grabbed onto the rail tightly trying to get down the narrow staircase. My ankles trembled in every step. I almost fell, but someone was holding me up by my waist. I said thank you and kept descending. I got to a door numbered 78, twisted the doorknob. A sea of cool air whipped passed us. I made it outside.

I thought about Samantha, where was she? The stars flickered quickly against the darkness of the sky. The stars were really street lamps. They were yellow, where was I? Cars rushed past us, rain pierced through my shoulders. Cold, shaking. My top was sheerer than I thought, my skirt stuck to my thighs. His palm rubbing my neck.

The concrete shimmered. Streets turned into mirrors. Street lamps doubled, the liquor store. Neon lights, bright blue beer poured through the window. Oranges, yellows vibrating together in the puddles on the corners. Gliding on the pavement, I became pigment. Music gone, only sirens. Bright. My breath. My heels crashed against the tides of cracked sidewalks. She looked into him, he looked at her.


I kept walking, for hours. She was tired against the lights of the city. I dreamt while I stumbled. Soft tapping of rain turned the scene into art. She tipped her head into the sky. I let the world do the melting, my colors fading. Water trickled into my eyelashes, she squinted and felt her breath swimming in slow motion. I started to cry. Does he know my name? Do you care.


I looked at the couple. On the other side. The street dividing us. Our mouths wide enough to swallow each other whole. She put his palms on his cheeks, his eyes were closed. She kissed his neck, he grabbed her waist. He said something in her ear. I looked at the street lamp, wondering. Is this one mine? He took out his keys and let us in.

Monday. Samantha asks if I made it home okay. I tell her yes. That night, I told my mother. I don’t feel too young anymore. 

“Images of My Mother”

“Images of My Mother”

I want to tattoo my body
with the image of my mother
watch my hands master spices
see my calves grow in size
so I too can run marathons
with four babies on my shoulders

When my voice turns into hers
My tongue will grow heavy
with tastes of herbs and te amo‘s
watch my whispers soothe cyclones
remind all daughters to breathe
again and again

When I crawl into her skin
and I taste the church’s wine
I see God underneath my eyelids
feel the lord’s blood join our own
and the darkness would feel warm
for the first time

I want to tattoo my body
with the image of my mother
so when I look in my reflection
I can finally believe
I too have the strength
of a thousand women

A Declaration of Self Love

I’m familiar negotiating who I am to please others. Some may call me inauthentic, I call this self-protection. However, I have burned through my shields. Too tired to be exhausted, this continuous disguise has faded. It’s time I accept myself and no longer sacrifice self-love for overall acceptance.

The mask I wear runs deeper than my foundation, and so today I decide to shift my narrative. I am no longer a finished product of what I’ve been through, I am a project continuously craving care, love, and attention. Today, I am proudly high maintenance. I must treat my body with the ultimate fragility. I understand I am the only constant character in my life. I will contribute only to my self preservation. Tonight, in my sweat pants and coiled hair I am nothing less than a Queen.

I deserve to be heard. I deserve to be loved. I deserve to be royalty.

12:46am, February 28th, 2016 the minute I unapologetically decided to love myself

“Tomorrow”

a six sentence story

It all started on a day like today. I decided to start a story with “It all started.” These three words, made of gunpowder to an unplanned rushed story, hold more potential than talent. When words refuse to lend themselves I write in a panic “It all started when my heart stopped working” or “It all started when he told me his sister died.” Yesterday told me to write “It all started when it never started at all.” Today, however, started like never before, on the cusp of tomorrow ending.

-tcm